How to spend a day in Birmingham’s East Lake neighborhood

FullSizeRender 158 How to spend a day in Birmingham's East Lake neighborhood
Welcome to East Lake. (Pat Byington/ Bham Now)

Birmingham is home to 99 neighborhoods, all with their own unique food, entertainment and community. Today, we’ll be taking you through a day in East Lake featuring its best eateries, activities and what’s new.

East Lake Farmers Market

markey edited How to spend a day in Birmingham's East Lake neighborhood
Head down to the market, every Saturday. (Sharron Swain/ Bham Now)

Every Saturday, this market in South East Lake offers some of the best local produce and handmade goods around. Stop by the Saturday market or check out mobile market truck locations daily on Facebook.

Downstairs Diner

edit DSC 1015.jpg How to spend a day in Birmingham's East Lake neighborhood
Juanita Jones and Mitchell Nash operate this labor of love. (Kristina O’Quinn/ Bham Now)

Grab lunch at East Lake’s Downstairs Diner. Located in the basement of East Lake United Methodist Church, this diner serves up nutritious, delicious food every weekday. Downstairs diner is known for their community appreciation days where the featured group, such as law enforcement, seniors or business owners, eat for five dollars. The most popular day? Stop by for delicious baked or fried fish every Friday.

The diner also has a summer food program for children, funded by the state, where any child 18 and under eats for free every weekday for free.

Southern Museum of Flight

Learn about the history of aviation and check out all kinds of aircrafts and memorabilia at the Southern Museum of Flight. One of the largest aviation museums in the South, this museum houses over 100 aircraft as well as photos, engines and other artifacts. It is also home to the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame, which highlights the trailblazing achievements of over 70 pilots and engineers.

The museum was created by Mrs. Mary Alice Beatty, who, with her husband, Donald Beatty established some of the first airline routes in Central and South America.

East Lake Park

East Lake
East Lake Park. (Jacob Blankenship/ Bham Now)

Take an afternoon stroll through East Lake Park. Back in 1886, East Lake Land Company created the lake while developing the area as a residential lot for miners and their families. According to Bham Wiki, it was originally named Lake Como after the
homonymous lake in the Italian Alps.

Today, the 100-acre public park is one of the largest municipal recreational areas in Alabama. It’s a perfect spot for a walk, run, picnic or fishing.

Food trucks

best things we ate in March, fat Charles bbq
(Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

East Lake and the surrounding area is a frequent location of many beloved Birmingham food trucks. Support local and stop for dinner at places like:

  • O My Turkey Leg: While this truck specializes in turkey legs, they offer all kinds of turkey dishes like nachos, wraps and sandwiches.
  • Fat Charles BBQ: One of the city’s favorite food trucks, Fat Charles BBQ serves up tacos, wings, burgers and most famously– mouthwatering birria tacos.
  • Coco Crabs: Crab legs, lobster tails, shrimp and seasoned butter– Is there anything better?

Stay updated on Facebook for daily truck locations and specials.

Ruffner Mountain

Catch the sunset at one of Birmingham’s hidden gems, Ruffner Mountain. The preserve, established in 1977, was originally only 24 acres of land. Today, thanks to Trust for Public Land and the Forever Wild Land Trust, the area grew into one of the South’s most highly acclaimed and ecologically significant urban nature preserves ranging 1040 acres.

NEW: Emerald Lounge

emeraldloinhe How to spend a day in Birmingham's East Lake neighborhood
Now open in East Lake. (Callie Morrison/ Bham Now)

Cap off the night with drinks at The Emerald Lounge. This new spot located in the former home of East 59 Cafe celebrated its grand opening June 2, and it’s already a hot spot for events, dates or just hanging with friends. Lounge in style indoors or outdoors on their private patio and enjoy craft cocktails, such as:

  • Passion & Bliss: passion fruit, vodka, ginger beer
  • Frozen Strawberry Margarita: tequila, triple sec, strawberry, lime, sugar, salt
  • Two Seven: It’s a surprise!

Did we miss your favorite East Lake spot? Tag us @bhamnow on Instagram or Facebook and let us know!

Grace Howard
Grace Howard
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